Today’s popular microblogging sites–Twitter, Tumblr, and the like–are image-centric, sharing stories through GIFs, Vines, and engaging photos. This is a giant leap from the early days of blogging, with long form posts and serious writing. The newest blogging platform has struck a balance, making the focus on writing not too big, not too small, but just right. It’s Medium, “a better place to read and write things that matter.”
This online publishing platform launched in August 2012 by Obvious Corp, the same company that brought us Blogger, Twitter, and Odeo. In the words of co-founder Ev Williams: “Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends.”
Like the plethora of platforms that have come before it, Medium offers an outlet for expression. But unlike its predecessors, it takes the spotlight off the author and onto the content itself. Posts by a certain author are not necessarily linked; each stands alone–there’s no implied column, series, or thought thread. Readers won’t go to Medium for the latest installment from their favorite blogger or what their friends have to say about their daily lives, but to discover a great idea in a quality piece of writing. A post won’t be read because of who wrote it, but because of what it’s about. With no shortage of ideas, information, or media online, Medium chose to focus solely on the most valuable content.
Going beyond the parameters of a tweet, Medium seeks to “increase the depth of understanding, while also creating a level playing field that encourages great ideas coming from anywhere.” As part of its level playing field, Medium uses recommendations from readers (via a “Recommend” button at the bottom of each post) to determine what content appears on the home page. Medium is organized by collections–rather than by authors–each centered around a theme, such as: “Design/UX,” “I.M.H.O.,” Digital Advertising,” “Life Hacks,” and “What I Learned Today.” Instead of writing something and adding a category or tag to it, authors must contribute directly to a specific collection.
The online publisher makes it incredibly simple to post articles. Ridding the need to “become a blogger,” there’s no pressure to constantly create new content or develop an audience. When you have something to say, you say it. That’s it. There’s nothing to set up, no design to customize. With the clean, templated structure, you can create media with little hassle–the beauty lies in usability. Writers aren’t creating posts in a vacuum, though; the process on Medium is collaborative. The platform offers tools for guidance and feedback both before and after a post is published. Instead of a comments section, readers can leave in-text notes on individual posts and the author can choose whether or not to make those public.
Medium is place for thought leaders, for journalists, for designers, for entrepreneurs, for anyone with something valuable to say. Right now, Bonobos founder and CEO Andy Dunn and Julie Zhuo, Product Design Director at Facebook are sharing their insight with readers. Discussion on Medium is focused greatly on topics such as social media, advertising, entrepreneurship, and design, but an author can literally write about anything. Readers won’t use the platform to follow a brand, but they will use it to discover a revolutionary idea or a moving story. To get the most out of Medium, showcase your expertise and share words that resonate. No matter the platform or type of content, the thing that trumps all: a meaningful message that connects with your audience.
Currently, Medium is open to everyone for reading posts, but only those with an invite to contribute posts can publish. To get on the waiting list, sign up via Twitter.
What medium do you use to tell stories online? Share in the comments!